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Bardic Arts

The Black Hound

by
Siobhán ní hEodhusa
Beltane (May), 1999 (AS XXXIV)

The black hound by his mistress stands
His sinews taut as any strings;
He listens so for her commands
And strives to understand her will
That, swifter than a clothyard springs
From yeoman archer’s sturdy bow
He may her meanest wish fulfill
Thus loyalty the hound doth show
That all who see it may it know

The stallion runs without surcease
Until his heart within him breaks
His burden bears and strives in peace
Without complaint, and asking naught
But stall in pasturage he takes
As even trade for giving so.
His life is spent, his life is bought
For corn so mean as to be not.
Thus gen’rousness the horse doth show
That all who see it may it know.

The hawk, under his master’s care
Comes, over time, to strive beyond
What normal prey would be his share
And enters even on such beasts
As would him kill, or surely wound.
His heart and confidence will grow
That to the greatest from the least
He’ll strike and kill to win the feast
The hawk doth his example show
That all, heroic valor know

These virtues of a knightly kind
They are a fine and noble thing
In any gentleman to find
Shown clear to us in Uther, King.


‘On site piece for Competition.’ -- Siobhán ní hEodhusa


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